Meet the Band // Doug Pettibone, Guitarist
An interview given by guitarist Doug Pettibone at the end of the 2013 run.
PN: You play a lot of instruments every night. What do you play on stage regularly?
Doug: I bring out about twenty different string instruments when I play with John. One of my hobbies is collecting vintage guitars. When I was ten years old my friend’s dad sold me a 1952 Les Paul for $50, and I’ve been collecting ever since. A lot of collectors keep their instruments in glass cases, but I like to play mine so I bring some out on tour with me. I have about ten electrics, three acoustics, a couple of mandolins, two electric lap steels, two 1920’s Hawaiian acoustic lap steels and a pedal steel. Since our set list changes every night, I get to use all of my guitars.
Was learning a variety of instruments something you set out to do one day, or did it simply happen organically?
It was definitely something I set out to do. I noticed that a few of my friends who played guitar started to branch out and learn mandolin and steel. These guys were getting all the calls for work so I decided I needed to do this for survival.
Which was the toughest instrument to get a grasp of?
The pedal steel has to be the number one most difficult instrument to play. There is so much going on with your feet, knees, hands and brain. I guess its like trying to fly a helicopter. I love this instrument so much because it has such an expressive vocal quality. I am constantly working on it and learning something new every day.
How did you get involved with this tour, and what was the experience like?
I was recommend by John’s producer Don Was who I’d worked with on other records. The experience has been a blast! It’s like going to the ultimate music/guitar camp, because John really encourages us to push our own musical boundaries. I look forward to our sound checks when we try new versions of songs or see how different instruments can affect the arrangement of the song.
You’re finishing up your own album right? What can you tell me about it?
My record, “Gone,” is finished! It’s a bunch of songs I wrote in the last year, and I have multi -Grammy award-winning artist Lucinda Williams and guitarist Bill Frisell on a few tracks. You can get it on iTunes and all the other online stores. I hope everyone who reads this will buy it!
Now that John is on a pause from touring for a few months, what are your plans?
I’ve been touring solid for ten months so ’m going to enjoy a little down time. I have booked some solo shows around California, and I will do some recording for other artists that should keep me busy until we hit the road in April.